When contemplating retirement many questions/fears surface. What will I do with all of my free time?: Will my wife and I get on each other’s nerves when we are both home all of the time?; Do we have enough money to live the rest of our lives without a paycheck?; Will I get bored?; and a lot more.
For several years prior to retirement my wife and I started collecting information on what we could do with all of our free time once we retired. Information on travel destinations, information of volunteering opportunities, information on places to live once you retiree, information on universities offerings courses for retirees and even got a book on 1001 things to do before you die.
I will have to say that we wasted a lot of time thinking of questions and worrying about various things. We also wasted a lot of time gathering information on what we could do during retirement. It has only been 19 years since we both retired from our full time positions. I retired from teaching and Lorraine from being a co-owner of an antique shop.
We are fortunate in that many years ago we tried to save as much as we could for our retirement years. We are also very fortunate that STRS has an excellent retirement system. Of course we are fortunate to still be in good health.
I can’t give any advice as to what one should do during their retirement years. What I can do is to list some of the retirement experiences we had.
We travel: I have taught at some of Wright State’s foreign partner schools. I spent 2 semesters in Italy, 2 semesters in Germany and a semester in Chile. During these experiences we were able to live with the “natives” and learn how they live and gain insight into their culture. As a visiting faculty member I was given a stipend that almost covered the expense of living abroad.
We travel even more: We do home exchanges. You can find many home exchange opportunities on the internet where you can select a place to visit and privately arrange an exchange for your home and car. We have done exchanges in Norway, The Netherlands, Belgium and 3 times in the United Kingdom. The advantage of home exchanges is that you don’t have to pay for housing or transportation, except for the airfare of course. You also get to live like a local. Our most recent exchange was in Wales for 5 weeks and we got to sing with a local choir, go to the Royal Welsh Show, watch sheep dog trials, look out our bedroom window to see a herd of cows and out our front window at a flock of sheep. Our exchange couple got excited about my writing group “My Life, One Story at a Time” and the husband will now leading a writing group of his own in Stafford, England.
We travel even more: We have taken several Elderhostel (now called Road Scholar) programs over the years. In order to sign up you have to be at least 50 years old. We participated in the following: A choir workshop in Minnesota; a music, culture and food in Louisiana; 2 programs in New Brunswick one on gourmet food and the other on flora and tides, a service program on an Indian reservation in Arizona; one on the Queen Mary in California; one in Jamestown on Colonial America and one in Newfoundland on the local food and culture. When you do one of these you always come home with a handful of information about things you never knew you were interested in. We have also had 6 degrees of separation experiences on almost every one.
We keep busy when we don’t travel: a) Lorraine and I presently sing in a community choir. At one time, we sang in 3 choral groups—crazy; b) we both hold positions on the board of the Beavercreek Historical Society; c) Lorraine is active in the Beavercreek Women’s League; d) Lorraine is active in the Dayton Miniature Group; e) I hold a position on the board of the Wright State University Retirement Association; and f) we both lead the “My Life, One Story at a Time” for people wishing to write stories about their personal and family history.
Oh, when Lorraine has time she works on remodeling individual doll houses from her collection of old hand made doll houses and Bob does a little wood carving.